June 10th, 2014 3:12am

Lost But Always Found

Shabazz Places “They Come In Gold”

Ishmael Butler makes hip-hop music, but his approach defies many formal conventions of the genre. Even a lot of the most adventurous rap music tends to be somewhat formulaic in structure, as the music is basically scaffolding to support the rhymed verses. Butler’s music has that, of course, but he’s very interested in building something bigger than a rap delivery system. Ever since he started working as Shabazz Palaces, he’s been playing around with tonal and rhythmic digressions, and in setting a thick atmosphere that doesn’t always need to involve vocals. His forthcoming album Lese Majesty pushes this all much further, with its 18 tracks actually adding up to movements divided among 7 discrete suites. The music isn’t as immediate as the songs on its basically perfect predecessor Black Up, but it’s a lot more hypnotic, ambient, and disorienting. To be honest, I’ve barely processed Butler’s dense lyrics, but it’s mainly because the music is so vivid and shifting that it’s a lot to just take in the experience of finding your way through the overall piece. “They Come In Gold” is about as conventional as Lese Majesty gets – it basically serves as a doorway to a very strange but rewarding musical space.

Pre-order it from Sub Pop.

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